Following two earlier major phases of refurbishment, Associated Architects has recently completed a third phase for the University of Birmingham School of Psychology, on their Edgbaston campus.
This third phase in the Gisbert Kapp Building sees the renovation of five floors of the building to accommodate a series of teaching, research, clinical and offices spaces for staff in the Psychology and Sport, Exercise Science and Rehabilitation Sciences (SportExR) departments. The spaces are available due to several departments being relocated to the new AA-designed School of Engineering
Two floors are comprised of sports / clinical facilities whilst the other three are comprised of office and psychology labs, including: VR Lab, Physiotherapy spaces, Multi–Gym, Yoga / Movement space, Shared offices, Test cubicles and Laboratories. To facilitate the work of the department, the new VR and behavioural testing laboratory spaces feature an array of cameras supported on a ceiling-rigged system.
Highly flexible shared spaces are also provided, alongside a welcoming Well-being hub to facilitate cross-School research and community engagement, as well as office space for co-location of members of the Institute for Mental Health and School of Psychology staff. Staff consultation enabled the design team to develop the brief to identify the specialist facilities each sub-group needs, and to ascertain options for shared / general purpose spaces.
Access was a key consideration for this project, therefore wide corridors ensure wheelchair users or those on crutches can safely and easily navigate the building.
With an eye on sustainability, the team has reused and kept as many of the existing walls/doors/screens as possible. This involved surveying over 200 doors to ensure they were suitable and updating ones that required refurbishment. In addition, this is one of the first projects in the Smart Campus project with Siemens which is ensuring automatically controlled lighting and room occupancy is monitored to reduce energy by calculate room occupancy automatically.